The Best One-Year MBA Programs

by John A. Byrne on

If you’re intent on picking up your MBA in a single year, your options of attending one of the very best schools in the world narrow considerably. In the U.S., for example, only nine of the top business schools ranked by Poets&Quants offer one-year options. In Europe, where the 12-month degree is more common, there are far more opportunities to get a quickie MBA at a prestige school, from INSEAD to IE Business School in Madrid, Spain.

The highest ranked U.S. school with a one-year program is Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, which started its program in 1964. The only other top 20 business schools with one-year options are Cornell University’s Johnson School and Emory University’s Goizueta.

Outside of the top 20 in the U.S., there are a number of very good one-year options at such prominent schools as Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, Babson College, and the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz School. The Katz School was the first business school in the U.S. to start a one-year MBA back in 1963—a year before Kellogg. The University of Southern California’s Marshall School has a one-year MBA with an international business consulting project open to candidates with more work experience than is typical for such programs. The average age of a Class of 2012 student in USC’s program is 33 with ten years of work experience on the resume.

All told, there are now at least a dozen business schools with accelerated full-time MBA programs ranked in the top 100 by Poets&Quants (see table above). A few of them allow a student to get the degree in even less than 12 months. You read that correctly: some schools will grant an MBA in as short as nine (Willamette) or ten months (Florida), if you bring the right prerequisites with you and want a hyper intense dash to the finish line.

Another prestige option, of course, is Columbia Business School’s January intake class. It’s not a 12-month option, but it does shortcut the traditional two-year program by several months. Columbia allows students who do not want or need an internship to begin their MBA studies in January and complete their second semester of classes during the summer. Then, the first year class merges in the fall with the second year to complete electives as a single class. About 30% of Columbia’s MBA students enter in January.

While most of the shorter 12-month programs require an undergraduate degree in business or undergraduate work in quant courses, there are some that allow any undergraduates entry. Consider the University of Florida’s one-year option, which begins in May and runs 12 months. If you already have a business degree, you can get through the Florida program in record time—just ten months (it’s so-called Option B program).

The benefits of one-year programs are obvious: Getting the same degree in half the time brings considerable savings in tuition and fees, room and board, and the lost opportunity cost of not having a job for two years. Once you include lost income and interest charges on student debt, the one-year program at Kellogg would save a student roughly $115,614. The total cost of Kellogg’s one-year program is $207,008 versus $322,622 for the two-year program. These estimates do not include scholarship money from Kellogg (where the average scholarship grant is $15,254 per academic year) or corporate sponsorship from a previous employer.

And despite the shortened academic experience, MBA employers tend to award one-year grads the same starting salaries they pay MBAs of two-year programs. In fact, several schools report that their one-year MBAs make slightly more than graduates of their traditional programs, largely the result of differences in work experience. At Kellogg, for example, one-year students are on average five months older with six months more work experience. So the return-on-investment of the one-year degree is much faster.

“People doing the two-year program are looking to have a college experience,” says Shena Simmons, who completed her accelerated MBA at Goizueta in May.  “With the one-year, you go in, you want to learn your stuff, and then get out to restart your career.”

The downside? Career switchers tend to be at a disadvantage because they lose the benefit of a summer internship–which has increasingly become a prerequisite to a job offer. In careers such as consulting and investment banking, companies largely recruit students from internships, so there’s very little hiring of one-year students into those careers, says Randy Allen, associate dean for international and corporate relations at Cornell’s Johnson School.

ONE-YEAR STUDENTS HAVE TO MAKE SOME SACRIFICES FOR THOSE SAVINGS

One-year students also lose out on the intense bonding experience of a two-year program, many of which require cohorts of students to go through the first year core together.  That’s why some of the nation’s most prestigious MBA players, such as Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Dartmouth, and Chicago, have not entered the market. Deans at those schools believe that the ideal MBA program is a two-year, all-encompassing experience with an internship, a global immersion trip, and a full menu of electives that allow more time for specialization.

One other important distinction between most of the one-year U.S. programs and the European MBAs is that the U.S. versions generally require a business undergraduate degree and/or a bunch of core prerequisites.

(See following pages for profiles of some of the best one-year programs)

DON’T MISS: ONE-YEAR MBA PROGRAMS GAIN TRACTION

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  • polaiso

    where is Mendoza college at Notre dame, they offer one year mba !!!!

  • Guest

    The USC IBEAR MBA is the best International MBA program in the US, bar none. It can be compared with a lock-in-step Executive MBA program, but done full-time in just a year. The class profile is very mature, (mostly mid-career level managers) and a majority of the students come in with 10-15 years of experience, which is incomparable with other 1-year MBA programs that are offered only as an alternative to 2-year programs catering to a much younger student body. You don’t get this kind of diverse international exposure anywhere else in the US in an MBA program. Not recommended for those that don’t have enough work experience as it’s all about the peer group that enriches your overall experience, beyond what you learn from the professors.

  • mver12

    I just finished Emory’s one-year program and basically, I was interested in an accelerated program to get back in the work force as soon as possible, since I believe that in this day and age, technology and times are changing at such a pace that the longer I’d stay out of the workplace, the more out of touch I would have felt.  Also, with somewhat of a business background (of public accounting, in particular financial audits), I believed that I’d be able to leverage my work experience with my MBA without going the 2-year route.  I believe that the two-year program is especially beneficial for those with perhaps a more technical background (such as engineering, medicine-related, etc).  The two years allow them to be exposed not only to a larger network and more classes, but also a summer internship which provides them with direct experience working in a field that may be interested in pursuing. 

  • Jmgord5

    I’m glad to see that the 1YR MBA option is getting so much attention.  I chose to attend Emory Goizueta’s program for some specific reasons. I was interested in pursuing an MBA with a focus in entrepreneurship.  As such, I was interested solely in the academic, extracurricular, and community experience of the MBA program. Generally, my considerations were:·      Reputation.  The reputation of the 12-month program as an intense, yet complete, learning environment was very attractive. ·      Core Courses.  The ability to complete the majority of the core courses in one semester in order to scope my elective curriculum was essential.  The two-year program offers this same benefit, but allowing electives to begin in just the second semester.·      Community. This is more of an intangible factor but there is such emphasis on the community aspect of Goizueta that it pervades into all other aspects of theschool.  I graduate with 165 MBAs.  I know every one of their names and honestly consider every one of them a friend.  The feeling of community extends equally to our alumni base. We are expected to help out current students who reach out. That’s why the employment numbers are so high.Please read about the 1 Year MBA experience in a blog post I wrote while in the program:  http://voiceofgoizueta.com/2012/02/04/education-growth-leadership-and-community-all-in-one-year/.

  • guest

    Mendoza must not be very good

  • http://www.paulsbodine.com/ Paul Bodine

    Great report, John. The one-year model has, for the reasons your article sites, a lot going for it. It may be indicative of how conservative U.S. management education really is that so few schools have yet embraced it (of course, there’s also the revenue loss in per student terms it represents for schools)…

  • atone

    ^^Well, one of you is a dumbass, and the other is just ignorant.

    @0f68a43601f548120a8fe9b87c0305f0:disqus : Mendoza is the College of Business at Notre Dame. Both its graduate and undergraduate programs are highly regarded.

    @guest: I don’t go to Notre Dame, but I know it’s a great school and the network extends far beyond many of  the most “elite” programs. I’m a strong believe that any school within the top 30 has an incredible program.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=25503923 Bruce Vann

    Why would you call people disrespectful things and then proceed to try to pursuade them?  What kind of sense does that even make?

  • gipper

    The University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business undergraduate prorgam (BBA) has been ranked the #1 undergraduate business program in the USA for the past two rankings… I’d disagree with your statement, guest.

  • Girish

    How do you rate Hult Business school’s one year MBA. I don’t see any mention of it here though it is rated highly by Economist & Financial Times

  • polaiso

    the report say: ”
    The Katz School was the world’s first business school to start a one-year MBA back in 1963—a year before Kellogg.” !!! This is NOT true!!!  INSEAD started in 1957. 

  • P.K. Hunter

    You’ve got to be kidding. With the exception of Kellogg, and possibly Cornell, those are pitiful schools to be plonking > 100,000 US$ on. Might as well do part time from a better name university.

  • P.K. Hunter

    Bar none? Seriously? Whatever you are smoking, get off it. USC would be lucky to make it into Top 20 in the US, but globally, it’s as good as Thunderbird or Emory — no one knows.

  • P.K. Hunter

    Pay attention to how Economist does its rankings. There is a reason why strange schools come out on top. No one pays attention to those rankings — especially not recruiters. FT is obviously biased to the UK so LBS will be better than Stanford and HBS, which is a joke.

  • P.K. Hunter

    Which matters in the US, if that. Globally no one knows either Notre Dame or Mendoza. With this generation and the next few, globalisation is par for course; invest wisely in a program that’s not just locally known. It would be hilarious for someone even in the US to tell me “Notre Dame is ranked higher than Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Harvard, Columbia”. Doesn’t compute, regardless of whatever some esoteric ranking tells you.

  • MIT Sloan Fellows Applicant

    John,

    I noticed that MIT’s one year Sloan Fellows’s MBA program was not listed here. Is this an oversight or is the program not ranked?
    Will greatly appreciate your thoughts on how this program compares to the 1 year MBA from Kellogg and Cornell.

  • Guest-2

    @Guest (aka Douchebag) : You are aware that Princeton has NEITHER an undergraduate or graduate business school ?? Of course you are b/c you’re a pompous delusional jackasss !!!

  • Paradox

    John, why you never mentioned the MIT Sloan one year MBA ??!!! no body talk about it why the hell is that?!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/tia.trussardi Tia Trussardi

    Only three schools offer Sloan programs – MIT, Stanford and LBS – and of those three, only MIT offers its Sloan Fellows the option of an MBA qualification. So it’s a Top 3 program at least because there would only be three schools in a Sloan ranking anyway! One major difference between the Sloan programs and MBAs is the age and experience of the class. The Sloans are in much more senior roles before the program and end up in much more senior roles after the program than MBAs from the same schools do. The network is therefore quite high octane. Generally, someone who meets the Sloan entrance requirements would be one of the oldest, if not the oldest, in the school’s MBA program, although 1yr MBA classes might skew a little older than a 2yr program class would.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tia.trussardi Tia Trussardi

    Most people interested in MBAs do not meet the 10yr minimum work experience requirement for MIT Sloan Fellows. It’s not aimed at the usual MBA demographic.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tia.trussardi Tia Trussardi

    I think INSEAD’s careers service would be very surprised to hear that there is very little hiring of consultants or i-bankers from 1yr programs, although it might hold true at US schools.

    In any case, 1yr programs are usually 12 months whereas a 2yr program has two shorter academic years. For example, MBAs at Stanford study for 6 quarters total while those on Stanford’s 1yr Sloan Fellows program study for 4 quarters. The 2yr MBA is only 50% more class time than the 1yr program.

  • Simon

    However, at INSEAD MBA, students study almost 80% of the materials content as the traditional 2-year US MBA. this percentage is higher in case of IMD. in fact, in term of materials studied, there is no huge difference. The main difference is the level of relaxation. In the two year, students have more time for social and extracurricular activities and more time in the summer internship. for this reason, I believe the two year mba is good option of the young and growing students, while the one year for the mature people.

  • They call me B-nice

    The USC Marshall 1-year IBEAR MBA program is perhaps one of the most challenging, most diverse, and most unique bonding experiences ever conceived and implemented in academia. An extraordinary social experiment, you hit the ground running set into a lock step curriculum with 55 other individuals from all over the world, whom possess a multitude of experiences, both professional and otherwise. (You can take electives beginning in term 3, but realistically 85-90% of your classes are set due to scheduling) The global culture of the classroom, and the relationships formed as you fight every step of the way through the seemingly endless barrage of homework, quizzes, group presentations, and exams, bonds you to your classmates in amazing and profound ways. Cultural misunderstandings, and opportunities for learning moments, occur on a rolling basis.

    As I approach the nearing flashpoint of graduating from IBEAR, the sensation of relief having made it through one of the most challenging achievements of my career(btw, this is my 2nd Master’s degree, and this program was a hundred times more challenging), is conflicted with a profound sense of loss that naturally comes along from knowing that I have been a part of something truly extraordinary, on a global scale.
    For anyone in search of an experiential journey that transcends conventional academia, I highly recommend.

  • Binay Mishra

    I am having 8+ years of experience and have IELTS score, but no GMAT score sector and looking for in campus 1 year international/executive MBA program (in management) or any 1 year management program in USA universities . Please let me know whether GMAT is still a mandatory criterion for an experienced candidate.Please guide me with the colleges or Universities providing 1 year EMBA without GMAT.Please also assist me with those universities those who provide internship program during the course. i.e any on job training in corporate offices for getting an exposure.

  • KeffeyPhillips

    Sloan Fellows are heads of state, CEOs etc. Cannot compare.

  • John Goldberg

    I attended the one-year MBA program at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. It was excellent.

  • DocHollywood_2

    Having graduated from both an MBA and PhD program, and having taught graduate school for six years, just how many courses are these people taking at a time to complete the program in 12 months, or are they trading life experience for credits? Anyway you slice it, that’s a lot of papers to write and exams to take to be one and done in 12 months.

    I take it they are not working during this crash and burn experience.

  • harideep shetty

    Thats good to know, congrats, so how has your career progression being post completing your MBA, Im guessing you are not working.

  • Randall

    This one year machination is killing the overall value of an MBA quite frankly. P & Q is up to it’s old tricks of doing anything to grab eyeballs. Imagine if law was 1.5 years of or medicine cut in half, would you want a doctor who has done the degree in half the time ? A one year is a master of science and that is it, or someone has an undergrad in business with work experience. Allot goes into a two year MBA and it is challenging at a decent program, cutting corners and you get an incomplete graduate, sort of jiffy pop types. European programs instituted them because they lacked substantial faculty to teach a full MBA program (being honest as prof’s are expensive and many programs lacked economy of scale), thus bastardizing the degree !

    I think a PMBA should be attached to a 2 year MBA program at an AACSB and ranked MBA program. The overall degree has to re-earn it’s value and it needs rebranded and earn back it’s credibility.

  • GrandpaMBA

    I respectfully disagree. In the near future, the MBA marketplace is unlikely to look so monopolistic as it did when I took my 2-year degree programs. Between 1 year programs, hybrid programs incorporating technology, and intense executive MBA formatted programs, much has already changed and more is coming. Through the use of technology and far more intense/effective scheduling, students today are able to learn every bit that I did in my 2 year program years ago and save considerable time away from the work-force. Additionally, despite popular comments to say that 1 year or eMBA formatted MBA programs dilute the value of the degree, I believe it is quite the contrary – they add considerable value by generating a far more diverse and potentially more accomplished network of alumni to access.
    This is not to say that a traditional 2 year program is not a great way to earn an MBA, IMO it is, but it is not the only way, and may well not be the most popular in due time. Many great business schools will and already are evolving to meet changing needs/wants

  • Justin

    Miami has a one year progam..starting in January…Forbes ranks UM as 68 on their list..are there any other schools that are potentially missing? I myself am looking at accelerated programs that I could apply to ASAP, so I am open to other schools with spring admission for full time.

  • Kemaso

    consider columbia January intake..

  • Squareone

    For those with 8-yrs+ of experience and considering a one-year MBA, I would strongly urge you to consider the Sloan Fellow programs at Stanford and MIT. The Stanford program is exceptionally elite and they give you access to all of Stanford, not just the GSB; it awards a Masters in Management. The MIT program tends to cater to a slightly older crowd with a number of executives in the program. MIT gives you the option of an MBA or Masters in Management. The Masters in Management requires a thesis whereas the MBA does not. I believe most go for the MBA designation.

  • Guest

    Hi,

    Are students able to work part time while pursuing the 1 year program?
    And how about job prospects?

  • JohnAByrne

    No. These programs are all-in, all the time. If you want to continue working, your best bet is an online MBA program, an evening program, or an Executive MBA program. The one-year programs featured here are pretty intense experiences that require you to be on-campus for the full year.

  • dayo

    Hi, all this i just read has been really educative but still leaves me a little bit concerned. So i have three years experience in audit and i want to get an mba to hopefully get a good job (which will hopefully help me relocate to the US) afterwards. Do you guys think a one year or a two year mba?

  • jugal

    require investment for the project in india
    1st in india n all saarc countries
    Highly profitable project

    profit/employment not less than 100000% n 100000 peoples n more will get employment
    in each projects in INDIA N ALL SAARC

    first time in India n neighbouring Saarc countries

    dear sir
    There is very high minds in the world but some hv dreams n some r completed their dreams

    as of today u know in india there is 120 crores population n neighbouring conutry’ approx 80 crores the total poplutaion i think 200 crores if u think for 200 crores population we can provide one business that should be everyone trying to visit n must see them
    u know there was a appu ghar in new delhi (the capital of india) that will be in highly profit n daily approx 100000 people visit there but our government require that space for international trade fair that’s why appu ghar given in private sector it is now in every state small n big appu ghar
    my project is full of ENTERTAINMENT/ADVENTRE/KNOWLEDGABLE/EDUCATION for all ages and it is only in 7 or 8 nos in the world it means 7-8 country’s hv that project but not in india n there neighbouring country’s that’s why i m in assurance that every one visit this show.

    we can make a stadium in rural area with the capacity of 25000-40000 people sit for one hour show n daily 8-10 shows if we will get one tkt inr.500/- it means u can calculate what we can get if we will pay maximum 50% expenses then the profit u can calculate
    that’s why i m saying approx. 100000% or more we can earn

    i hv nothing n i m very simple man in new delhi india
    if u r interested then pls gv ur geneuinity terms n experience
    i do not know any thing but i hv dream that this can be done in india
    pls reply at e4arliest tks
    jkgupta pls reply at mail id;

  • Eldhose Mathew

    The Katz School was the first business school in the U.S. to start a one-year MBA back in 1963

    Pay attention to detail my dear.

  • polaiso

    It was written “the world’s” back then :), still better than INSEAD in my opinion !!

  • http://www.managementwritingsolutions.com/ management writing solutions

    One year program definitely expedites the Masters Degree procedure. But it’s also important for the students to check whether they’re fully calibrated to deal with the vast coursework in a short time. Nonetheless, it shortens the course time making it more convenient.

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